CHINA is planning to double its nuclear arsenal in just six years, a Pentagon report claims.
The nation may also be exploring the development of non-nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, and have enough nukes to destroy the world 10 times over.
ReutersA Pentagon report claims China plans to double its nuclear arsenal in just six years[/caption]
AFPBy 2030, Xi Jinping’s nation could have enough nukes to destroy the world 10 times over[/caption]
ReutersChina reached a stockpile of 500 operational nuclear warheads by May 2023, the Pentagon report claims[/caption]
The report – an annual survey of Chinese military capabilities – found the nation on track to exceed previous projections, having reached a stockpile of 500 operational nuclear warheads by May 2023.
But that number will likely supersede 1,000 by 2030.
Former CIA China expert, Dennis Wilder, expressed concern about the warning on conventional ICBMs as they could destabilise the military balance and complicate the situation for military planners.
“China could, in a US-China crisis, for the first time threaten strikes against major US population centres without having to cross the nuclear threshold, which risks a massive US nuclear barrage in response,” Wilder told the Financial Times.
Conventional ICBMs can also cause another problem, in which they “would likely be indistinguishable from their nuclear ICBMs”.
Wilder explained that would severely complicate the early warning system for US Strategic Command, which oversees the country’s nuclear arsenal.
China has been rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal in recent years, which could indicate that Beijing is moving away from its “lean and effective” nuclear deterrent policy.
In 2020, Chinese state media had called for a tripling of nation’s nuclear arsenal to fend off the “warmongering” US as tensions were raging over the coronavirus pandemic.
The Global Times – the newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, which has a circulation of 1.5million – published a fiery editorial in which it accused Washington of trying to stoke conflict with China.
Chinese military officials were urged to increase the state’s nuclear stockpile to 1,000 warheads, more than double its current estimated size of around 300.
The newspaper – which is often seen as the unfiltered mouthpiece of Beijing – called for the increase to “deter potential impulsive military action by US warmongers” in an article on Friday, May 8.
It accused Washington of “applying amplified military pressure” on China as warships continue to traverse the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Straits.
Editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, a party member and former army officer, said: “China needs to expand the number of its nuclear warheads to 1,000 in a relatively short time and have at least 100 DF-41 strategic missiles to curb US strategic ambitions and impulses toward China.”
DF-41s are the regime’s latest missiles, being officially unveiled last October, and have range to strike anywhere in the world.
The editorial also said the US now sees nuclear weapons as “deployable on the battlefield” – calling for more stealth bombers and submarine missiles.
AFPNon-nuclear ICBMs would allow China to threaten conventional strikes against targets in the continental US[/caption]
AFPThe country has been rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal in recent years[/caption]